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An epic solution for saving our quickly disappearing school music programs.

3D printers and violins have more in common than you might think.

Imagine a high school bus stop around 7:30 a.m.

You’d see maybe eight teenagers: three holding sports duffle bags; one reading a library book; another holding a large art portfolio. The last three might be holding instrument cases shaped like guitars, violins, and trombones.

But what if those instruments disappeared? Unfortunately, that's the reality for many K-12 students across the country.


These days, most American K-12 schools are focusing heavily on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, but performing arts programs are getting left behind. When extracurricular budgets are tight, music programs are often the first to go.

As it turns out, STEM programs could actually save music programs.

That's Kaitlyn Hova's great idea.

Kaitlyn Hova. All photos provided by the Hovas, used with permission.

At 13 years old, Kaitlyn became a professional violinist and toured all over the country. To book more gigs, she created a website and started playing around with code, too. But it wasn’t until a music theory course at Berklee College of Music in Boston that Kaitlyn discovered that she had synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon that connects one sensory with another.

Synesthesia inspired Kaitlyn to change academic paths, switching from music in Boston to neuroscience classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in her hometown. After graduating, she also attended Omaha Code School with her husband, Matt Hova, and created the synesthesia network called a “Facebook for people with Synesthesia” to gather data for her epidemiological studies.

Two years ago, Kaitlyn and Matt began printing shapes and stationery and eventually full instruments on a 3D printer.

They stumbled past an Instagram post of David Perry's F-F-Fiddle, a full-sized violin printed with a 3D printer, which inspired the tech-savvy couple to design and 3D-print a violin of their very own. Over the next year and a half, after creating over 60 failed models, the Hovas experimented their way to a 3D-printed, fairly cheap violin that they called the Hovalin 2.0.

The Hovas with their Hovalins.

The best part? Kaitlyn and Matt want to use their invention to help save music programs.

Their idea is that kids in STEM programs could 3D-print instruments in class, thereby saving music programs and lowering each school's costs (the instruments would be free!). Right now, they're working with school districts to raise enough money to put 3D printers in schools all over the U.S., hoping to kickstart the idea into action.

"After making the [Hovalin], we realized it could be really wonderful thing to try to help out with music programs," Kaitlyn explains. "Maybe they have a good STEM program going on, but their music program is losing funding."

"It's so empowering for kids to see they can make something out of software," Kaitlyn said. "I think it makes it more accessible."

The Hovas are not the first and probably won't be the last to create a 3D-printed violin. But they are the first to use their invention for good in this particular way.

The best part is that this solution is relatively simple but full of creativity and possibility. Plus, a recent study shows that kids benefit from music training as much as from basic classes, like mathematics.

As a former music student from a school with an at-risk music program, the Hovas' awesome intentions struck a chord with me. We need more simple, effective solutions like these for our kids. Here’s to hoping the program takes off!

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

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According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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